By Godwin Oghre
Sapele—Ahead of Saturday’s council poll in Delta State, Sapele Area Police Command, yesterday in Sapele, convened a stakeholders’ meeting of the participating political parties and their candidates, declaring that the police would not tolerate any breach of peace or act contrary to electoral law.
The political parties and their chairmanship and vice-chairmanship candidates, agents and key party members invited to the meeting included those of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Labour Party, LP, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, among others, in Sapele, Okpe, Ethoipe East, Ethoipe West, and Warri North Local Government Areas.
Police Area Commander, ACP Mauma Rijau, who convened the meeting, told the politicians: “The Police will provide adequate security to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections in these areas. Take note that the Police is familiar with all the nooks and crannies of the areas, particularly crime prone areas, and I urge anyone likely to be offended to report all grievances to the Divisional Police Officer of Sapele Police Command or myself for immediate action.
“I urge you not to take laws into your hands. Call the DPO if you notice any ugly incident. If you wish to call me, feel free to do so. I assure you that no electoral material will be found in the possession of any police officer. The Police will not aid or abet crime in the election. We will not tolerate any act of criminality. I assure you that we will nip in the bud any likely ugly incident.”
Delta State Independent Electoral Commissioner, speaking through his representative, Mr Omeuku Kingsley, assured of a peaceful and fair election, adding: “DESIEC is fully ready for a free and fair local government election across the state on Saturday.”
Earlier, some of the chairmanship candidates, particularly those of APC, AGPA and LP and their supporters, had expressed fear over the ability and honesty of DESIEC to conduct a free and fair election, noting that “in the past, officials of one of the political parties in the state had connived with security officials to snatch ballot boxes and produce fake results in the areas, just as some results were announced and winners emerged even before the elections were conducted.”